Subediting

A guide to help potential contributors develop their skills.

If you are considering contributing to Exeter Observer please see our contributors guide.

More contributor guides:

Subediting actions

  • Rewriting copy to improve structure
  • Editing copy to improve style
  • Correcting spelling and grammar
  • Checking factual accuracy
  • Writing headlines and standfirsts
  • Writing image captions
  • Choosing pullquotes and dropcaps
  • Creating infoboxes
  • Cropping/resizing/compressing photos
  • Embedding photos and videos inc. descriptive text
  • Confirming and including photo/video licensing info
  • Ensuring markup/down is correctly formatted esp. links, inverted commas, italics, bold
  • Removing superfluous formatting e.g. double spaces
  • Enhancing SEO (Search Engine Optimisation)
  • Identifying potential defamation risks.

cf. What do subeditors do?

Subediting method

  1. Read from start to finish (out loud if possible), matching pace of first-time reader to get overall picture, identify structural errors/weaknesses etc.

    • do paragraphs flow in ideal sequence, following points set up in previous paragraph, with strong linking sentences?
    • does clear narrative thread run throughout piece that addressed central points/arguments?
    • do headline and standfirst accurately represent content?
    • does wrap-up draw all necessary threads together and provide satisfactory conclusion?
  2. Edit for structure

  3. Edit for style

  4. Check facts/names/claims etc.

  5. Check links

(i) use:

  • when explanation or definition required
  • to give context or background
  • for attribution of source content
  • when copyright license required
  • for navigation to related material

(ii) embed:

  • within a sentence
  • using uniquely descriptive text, ideally containing keywords
  • concisely, with no more words than are necessary for an accurate description
  • NEVER using click here, read more etc.

NB the above does not consider print publication issues e.g. fitting copy into layout, removing widows/orphans etc.

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An open letter to all members of the Exeter Observer team

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Free two day news writing seminar on 14 & 21 March

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Next community journalism course begins 22 February 2020

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Exeter Observer joins Independent Community News Network

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Exeter Observer joins BBC Local News Partnerships

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Exeter Observer agrees regulatory framework with IMPRESS

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